4 Best Prepper Radio Communication Devices For Survival When SHTF

he ability to communicate with rescuers can mean the difference between life and death in a survival situation. 

As a survivalist or a prepper you’ll want to have the most reliable communication device in the event of a disaster. Getting the best communication device means finding a two way radio which has battery longevity and connectivity almost guaranteed. 

You never want to risk finding yourself in a disaster situation without having any form of communication. Becoming stranded in an emergency and being vulnerable to the elements without any way to contact help could threaten the life of you and your loved ones. 

We’ve done extensive research to ensure that you can get the best survival radio in case SHTF. Learn everything you need to know with our extensive guide – let’s go! 

Types Of Two-Way Prepper Radio Communication Devices

There are several different types of two way prepper radio communication devices and it’s important to get familiar with the options available to you. 

Firstly, it’s good to understand what a two way radio is. It can be seen as any radio that can transmit and receive voice communications. Two way radios are not the same as broadcast radios because they do not simply transmit signals, they also receive them. 

Let’s take a look at the different types of two way radio communication devices on the market today: 

HAM Radio (Amateur Radio)

HAM radios are a type of two way communication device that have a very long range and multiple frequencies. 

They allow an excellent quality of communication. HAM radios can be handheld for a range of up to 20 miles with a mobile base range of over 50 miles. 

For preppers and survivalists a HAM radio is the best option available due to its long transmitting range. It also provides you with the ability to communicate directly with local emergency workers who may be able to help you. 

CB Radio

CB radio stands for Citizens Band Radio and this type of communication device is used across the world. The CB radio originated in the United States but is now popular in multiple countries in many different continents. 

There is no license required for a CB radio and it can have up to a 50 mile range. There are some drawbacks as the channels are often busy and it has a much smaller handheld range (usually maximum 5 miles). 

The CB radio is generally seen as the second best option for survivalists and preppers. 

FRS Radio

Authorized in the United States since 1996, the FRS radio stands for Family Radio Service and was specifically targeted at families when it first came on the market. It does not require a license however the quality of the products can be fairly low so you need to buy carefully. 

Although the FRS radio is an efficient two way communication device and can work well for everyday use, we wouldn’t recommend it for when SHTF due to its short range. 

MURS Radio 

Short for Multi Use Radio System, MURS radios are most similar to CB radios. MURS radio is a two way radio service created as recently as 2000 that is private and aimed at short distance communication. 

Generally we wouldn’t recommend this type of radio for when SHTF due to the low number of people on MURS radio and the limited capacity to communicate with others who could help you. 

What Is The Best Type Of Survival Radio To Get?

The best type of survival radio is the HAM Radio due to its long range and the wide community of users you’ll have immediate access to. 

Although a HAM Radio requires a license and comes at a higher price you should see it as an investment as it could end up ensuring the safety of you and your loved ones and saving your lives. 

A survival radio needs to be as reliable as possible with the longest range available. The HAM radio is the best option for survivalists and preppers getting ready for a worse case scenario – let’s find out why by checking out some of the top benefits for when SHTF. 

The Benefits Of A HAM Radio In A Survival Situation

There are lots of ways that a HAM radio can help you in a survival situation – it’s an excellent piece of equipment that could save the life of you and your loved ones. 

Some of the benefits of a HAM radio in a survival situation include: 

  • It is very long range : hand held up to 20 miles, mobile and base ranges over 50 miles
  • It has many frequencies
  • It allows you to directly contact local emergency assistance
  • It gives you access to a wide community of HAM operators 
  • It can be extended and amplified with extra equipment 

Things To Note Before Buying

When you’re figuring out the best radio communication devices for survival when SHTF, there are a few factors you’ll need to consider. 

Take a look at these things to note before buying we’ve gathered for you: 

HAM or CB Radios?

As we’ve discussed there are different communication device options including HAM and CB radios. HAM radios have a longer range than CB radios so can be useful in a survival situation. However CB radios do not require a license and are less expensive


Two way radios can be stationary or portable. Some of them even offer both options. Think about whether you want a handheld radio or one that will stay in your home.

Ease Of Use

In a survival situation you’ll want to have a communication device that is easy to use and functions simply and effectively. 

License Requirement

HAM radios require a license whereas other devices such as CB radios and FRS do not require you to have a license to use them.


When SHTF you want to have equipment that works well regardless of how old it is and how long you’ve owned it. If you buy good quality, you should expect your communication device to have a lifespan of at least 10 years.

Has NOAA Weather and Emergency Alert System

When SHTF having access to the most up to date and accurate weather could help to save your life.


Having a long range on your two way radio will mean that you can communicate across greater distances. In an emergency situation this could be a huge advantage especially if you’re stranded in a remote area. 

The Best Survival Radios Of 2022

Let’s take a look at some of the top prepper radio communication devices to aid your survival when SHTF.

Best Ham Radio For Preppers

The Tenway Dual Band Ham Radio is an affordable radio set that includes a number of accessories to support the two way radio. The radio is tri power so you can choose between Low, Medium or High settings and is suitable for use wherever you need it. 

It’s easy to program this Ham radio and there’s the option to link it to your Windows system by using a programming cable. 

Included with your two way Ham radio will be accessories that include a high gain antenna, a desktop charger, belt clip, hand straps and ear pieces. 

Tenway Dual Band Ham Radio


Up to 60 miles


Handheld or Stationary

Power Source

Li-ion Battery

NOAA Weather Access



  • Works with different software packages such as CHIRP

  • Largest battery can work for up to 2 days

  • Inexpensive


  • Some users dislike the bulky appearance

Best Rechargeable Ham Radio

The BAOFENG High Power Radio is a Ham Radio that’s quick and easy to recharge to full capacity. A large 3800mAH battery is included alongside the standard 1800mAH version and you can easily preserve the battery life by adjusting the power mode you use. 

This efficient Ham radio has a 128 memory channel and it is compatible with a number of other devices. There are useful features such as an LED flashlight and it’s simple and easy to operate. 

The high quality earpiece helps you to hear clearly regardless of background noise – this can be essential in a survival situation where you are trying to listen closely for vital information. 

BAOFENG High Power Radio


Up to 50 miles


Handheld or Stationary

Power Source

Lithium Polymer Battery

NOAA Weather Access



  • VOX function gives you the option of hands free usage

  • Easy to program using a PC 

  • Offers an emergency alarm 


  • Does not work well with Mac software 

Best Waterproof Ham Radio

The Radioddity model is a rugged radio that will be ideal for preppers and survivalists operating in extreme conditions. It’s made from high strength materials and is both drop proof and waterproof. 

The bright orange color makes this radio easy to identify and you can find it quickly in your survival bug out bag. It has micro-USB charging, dual PTT and SOS function alongside many other features. 

Bluetooth programming is available with this Ham Radio and the device is compatible with both Android and IOS systems. 

Radioddity Model




Handheld or Stationary

Power Source

Lithium Battery

NOAA Weather Access



  • Allows you to edit channel names 

  • Easy to find in low light scenarios 

  • Suitable for all environments and weather conditions 


  • Does not work well with Mac software 

Best CB Radio For A Vehicle 

If you’re looking for a CB radio, the Cobra CB radio is a highly rated device that has 40 channel access and 10 NOAA Weather channels available. As with any CB radio, there’s no need for a license with this device.

The Dual Watch feature allows you to monitor two channels simultaneously, maximizing your exposure to useful updates and alerts. There’s also a sound tracker system which helps to cut out 90% of noise to help you hear important information. 

This is a good option to use from your vehicle as it comes with a magnetic mount mobile antenna included. Simply place this securely on the roof of your vehicle or truck in order to quickly and easily use the radio from the comfort of your car seat. 

Cobra CB Radio


Up to 4 miles



Power Source

AA Batteries

NOAA Weather Access



  • Omnidirectional microphone allows voice to be picked up easily

  • Radio remembers last channel set to each time before shutting down

  • Works well with cigarette lighter of a vehicle to charge


  • Need to buy mobile antenna separately

In Depth Buyers Guide 

HAM or CB Radios?

You need to think through the different scenarios you’ll use your radio in when you decide whether to buy a HAM or CB radio. 

HAM radios are often more expensive and require you to hold a license, yet they are also much better for many survivalists who want to ensure they have a reliable radio with the best range possible. HAM radios work across multiple frequencies and by purchasing a license you’ll gain instant access to a wide community of users. 

CB radios are much cheaper and you don’t require a license to use one. This means you can get started using one the minute you have the device in your hand.

The range for handheld CB radios is often much lower and channels do tend to be busier than with HAM radios so you need to weigh up how you want to use your device and whether a CB can fulfil the task efficiently. 


Again, it’s useful to think about how you’ll be using your two way radio – some survivalists and preppers will 100% require a device that is handheld and can be used on the move. 

Other preppers may simply want a radio as a means of backup communication in an emergency in their homes. 

It’s important to know about the term ‘walkie talkies’ when it comes to portability of two way radios. You’ll probably know the term already and come across it frequently when looking at different models. Bear in mind, a walkie talkie is simply a portable 2 way radio. 

Ease Of Use

Once you have a clear idea of the type of situations and conditions you’ll be using your device in, you’ll be able to learn which features may help you use it best. 

Many two way radios prioritize ease of use for an emergency situation and have additional features such as LED flashlights, a VOX function and emergency alerts. You will generally be using your device under pressure in an emergency situation so any function that makes using it easier will be appreciated by you. 

Programming your radio communication device can be a daunting task for some survivalists and preppers. 

You’ll want to find a device that you can use with computer software that you already have or be prepared to gain an understanding of a new software if you’re required to buy it. 


A good quality two way radio device should have a lifespan of at least 5-10 years especially if you look after it well. 

Obviously the durability will depend on the design that you go for (some options are fully waterproof and drop proof) as well as the conditions that you use it in. 

Has NOAA Weather and Emergency Alert System

The NOAA weather radio is a network of radio stations that broadcast continuous weather information nationwide. 

The information comes directly from the National Weather Service and can help you to learn more about extreme weather conditions to prepare for, or simply just day to day weather which might dictate your plans. 

An Emergency Alert system on a radio can be invaluable to let you know with as much time as possible when you need to act quickly and leave your home or bunker down. 


Range relates to the distance that a two-way radio is able to transmit.

 It’s important to remember that the range given with most devices assumes that there are no obstructions such as tall buildings or trees in the way. The type of waves transmitted with a two way radio can only travel in straight lines which means that obstacles will severely limit the range of a device. 

You can also generally expect the range stated on a two way device to have been exaggerated to some degree. 

There are ways that you can increase the range of a two way radio and these include devices such as antennas or repeaters. 

What License Do You Need To Operate Your Prepper Radio?

If you’re using a HAM radio you’re required to have a license. The license is required if you want to transmit through a radio (have two way communication) but preppers and survivalists who simply want to receive information do not need a license. 

Be aware that not having a license will mean you can not make any outward communication. This could become very frustrating if you need to ask for information or emergency assistance. 

There are a few different licenses that you can get and the best option for you depends on how you want to use your radio. 

You’ll usually need to take an examination answering questions about how the radio works, regulations to adhere to and any relevant operating practices. 

Getting a license can be a great way of learning more about how to operate your radio efficiently and use the different features available to you.

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